NORWALK FIRE DEPARTMENT
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
TITLE: Incident Command System
DATE: October 1, 2009 (replaces June 1, 1993 version)
The Incident Command System (ICS) is an organized approach to effectively control and manage operations at fires and other emergencies and can be modified to fit any particular incident
The Norwalk Fire Department responds to a wide range of emergency incidents. In order to effectively manage personnel and resources and to provide for the safety and welfare of our personnel, the Norwalk Fire Department shall operate within the Incident Command System (hereafter referred to as ICS) at every incident to which it responds. All members shall review and understand the following SOP.
i. Several laws and standards mandate the use of ICS, including OSHA 1910.120, and NFPA 1500 “Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program”, and NFPA 1561 “Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management”.
ii. The purpose of this document is to establish and mandate the use of ICS at all events. This is not a training or reference manual and as such will not detail all the various procedures/components that are part of NIMS/ICS. For a complete review of the ICS system, please refer to: NIMS-Incident Command System for the Fire Service—Student Manual(2nd edition) workbook.
- The Norwalk Fire Department shall use the Incident Command System at every incident to which the Department responds.
- The first arriving unit, or the only unit, on the scene of every incident shall establish Command. (For single unit responses, see the next section regarding Informal Command).
- The Incident Commander (IC) is directly responsible for the outcome of the incident.
Three types of Command will be used, depending on the number of units responding and the number of entities represented at the command post.
The three types of Command are as follows:
This type of Command is used when only one unit responds to an incident. When a single unit responds to an incident, it does not need to formally announce that the officer is “Command”. Being the only officer on the scene, it is understood that only one officer is on scene and that he is in charge.
This type of Command shall be established whenever more than one unit responds to an incident. The first unit on scene shall announce that it is “(Location) Command”, and give the normal on scene report.
This type of Command shall be used at large incidents when the incident would be best served if more than one entity shares the responsibility of Command.
As an incident expands, Command must gather the necessary resources to handle the situation. Command must ensure that a reasonable span of control is maintained throughout the incident.
Command shall be responsible for the following four functions at every incident:
Directly mitigates the emergency or situation present. At a fire, Operations directs firefighting crews. At a haz-mat incident, Operations ensures that the steps needed to stop the release and secure the area are taken.
Responsible for looking at what happened, what is currently happening, and what will (or can) happen in the future concerning the incident. Planning considers and records specifics concerning the incident itself and the crews operating at the incident.
Responsible for getting the tools and equipment necessary to handle the situation. Once specific tools and equipment are on the scene, Logistics is responsible for their maintenance and replacement when needed.
Handles the administrative needs of the incident such as the payroll, payments for purchased equipment, and the handling of worker’s compensation claims.
Additionally, Command has the following responsibilities pertaining to staff at every incident:
The individual responsible for the safety concerns of all on-scene personnel and civilians in close proximity to the incident. (At large incidents the Department Safety Officer will normally respond to fill this position)
The individual who must interact with the outside agencies that respond, report to, or are present at emergencies, including the police, utilities, local or other government officials, and agencies and civilians who have a vested interest in the incident.
3: Information Officer (PIO)
The individual responsible for providing information concerning the incident to the news media, concerned outside agencies, displaced and/or affected civilians at the scene and safety crews.
- If Command can not handle any or all of the above mentioned functions and staff positions, he shall delegate any or all of them to other members at the scene.
- If Command does not delegate these responsibilities to others, then Command is responsible for them.
- Command shall make such assignments and assemble a command structure proportional to the needs of the incident and resources available. Large scale and complex incident = Big Command organization Small scale and “simple” incident = Little Command organization
The first arriving unit on the scene shall establish Command. The member establishing Command will remain as Command until the incident has been terminated or Command has been transferred
The initial IC shall give a brief report upon arrival, giving unit identification, location of incident, conditions found, and announcing via radio that “(Location) Command” has been established. (Single unit responses do not require the “Command” announcement).
Staging is the placement of personnel and equipment that are ready for immediate use. Staging gives unassigned responding units focus and a function.
There are two levels of staging:
Level I staging
Used for regular or first alarm assignments. The officer of each unit responding chooses the appropriate location to stage, consistent with any Department SOPs addressing staging for a particular type of incident or particular location.
Level II staging
Level II staging requires that responding units report to a specific staging area. Command usually will designate the staging area. Level II staging is normally used at large, more complex incidents such as multiple alarm fires. The first officer reporting to the staging area shall be designated the staging officer.
The radio designation “Command” will be used along with the geographic location of the incident. For example, a fire on Van Buren Avenue would be designated: “Van Buren Command”. This designation will not change throughout the duration of the incident. The designation of “Command” will remain with the officer currently in Command of the incident throughout the event.
The Norwalk Fire Department communications shall continue to use the sender-receiver model for radio communications:
1. Sender will give sender ID, then call receiver ID
2. Receiver will give sender ID to indicate they are ready to receive.
3. Sender then gives the message, order, etc.
4. Receiver acknowledges receipt of the sender’s message (A brief restatement is the best acknowledgment)
IC: “Van Buren Command to Engine 1”
Eng. 1: “Engine 1 by”
IC: “Engine 1; stretch a pre-connect to the 3rd floor”
Eng. 1: “Engine 1 copies, stretch a pre-connect to the 3rd floor”
D: Dividing the Incident Scene
For the purpose of coordinating operations, the following procedure shall be used when geographically dividing an emergency incident.
1. The exterior walls of any structure shall be designated as “Sides” and shall be identified in order by going clockwise beginning with “Side A”
2. Side A shall be defined as that side containing the street address. Under unusual circumstances, the IC may designate any side as Side A.
3. Exposures shall be identified by the side of the involved structure to which it is exposed. Example: The exposure facing Side C of an involved structure would be identified as Exposure C.
4. The interior floor area of a structure shall be known as a Division and shall be identified by its floor number. Example: The fifth floor of a structure would be identified as Division 5. A single story structure would only have a Division 1.
5. The roof shall be designated Roof Division
6. The basement shall be designated Basement Division.
7. Unusual areas such a multiple sub-basement, mezzanines, etc., shall be designated as Divisions but may be identified at the IC’s discretion.
Personnel assigned to supervise a geographic area shall be designated as and identified by, the geographic area. Ex.: the supervisor of the fifth floor of a structure would be identified as Division 5.
(See pgs. 6-7 for examples)